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You may have heard the millennial generation described as lazy, entitled and even disrespectful. On the surface, it's easy to understand why: They are tethered to their devices, they can be impatient for results, they seem to crave recognition. But experts agree that if you put aside your own frame of reference and play to their strengths, you'll have a win-win working relationship and a more successful workplace. Srsly.
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Let's look at what's really behind these common stereotypes and how to leverage the awesome potential of millennials.
Stereotype #1: They are lazy.
Alternate interpretation: They like being as efficient as possible.
Lazy might be the biggest stereotype about millennials and it's one that they strongly reject. Boomers are proud of their work ethic and 80-hour workweeks. Gen Xers followed in their footsteps, struggling to do it all without looking like they were breaking a sweat. And now millennials have entered the workplace with the mentality of working smarter, not harder.
"Millennials think, 'If it takes me five minutes rather than five hours to complete a task, why should I be penalized?' " says Anna Liotta, author of Unlocking Generational CODES. She shares a story about a boomer who created a spreadsheet that could create a report in 30 minutes, significantly reducing the manager's time investment each week. A millennial asked if he could take a crack at retooling the spreadsheet. He went off on his own and five days later had created a new version that pulled the numbers in less than a minute. Look for ways to reward these kinds of efficiencies instead of penalizing them.
Stereotype #2: They are entitled.
Alternate interpretation: They thrive with more flexibility.